Sunday, 28 April 2019

Falling Trees and Blue Portraits

Birkenhead Park Visitor Centre, 7th April 2019, by Adele Cosgrove-Bray.

My ongoing series of sketches in the park continues unabated, as is evident. On a few recent sketches I've added some simple washes of watercolour to bring another dimension to the scenes. I've long grown accustomed to sketching in public, and the few people who've passed any comment have always been encouraging. I've even unintentionally captured a tiny bit of park history:-


I drew this lovely arching tree in February this year, and since then its own weight has pulled its roots out from the ground. Probably due to safety concerns, it has been brutally cut back so it's now little more than a stump, and the horizontal section, with all its vertical branches, has been removed. Hopefully the tree will survive this harsh treatment.



"How can walkies please, when every step's a wheeze?" by Adele Cosgrove-Bray.
Portrait by Adele Cosgrove-Bray; chalk and charcoal.

I've been reading a fascinating book, Venice & Drawing by Catherine Whistler. The reproduced images are great to browse through, but there's also a long and detailed account of how Venetian artists' studios functioned on a practical level, and how they sometimes shared resources, such as sculptures or collections of drawings used for reference or for apprentices to practice drawing from.

One dominant trait which was shared by many Venetian artists of this period was the use of blue paper for drawing on. This was not quality paper, but very economical paper originally intended for wrapping. However, it proved fine for apprentices to draw on,  and it was soon adopted by most fully-fledged artists of that region too. They used black, red and white chalks on the blue paper to great effect.

Portrait after Pierre Paul Prud'hon, by Adele Cosgrove-Bray.
I've been experimenting...! These two portraits are both approximately A3 in size, and so I had to photograph them then download them onto my computer, a process which distorts the colouring. In reality, the actual portraits are blended more smoothly than they appear to be here, particularly with the first.

The second portrait is a study of a work by the French artist Pierre Paul Prud'hon, who died in 1823, and whose work was partly influenced by Venetian artists.

Well, one of these years hopefully I'll get to explore those intriguingly beautiful Venetian canals...until then, I'll have to be satisfied with other peoples' photos of the place.

Brochures for the 10th Wirral Open Studio Tour are now available from various community centres, libraries, shops and galleries across Wirral, or you can download a copy from https://wirralarts.com. The tour will take place on Saturday 8th June - Sunday 9th June, though several venues will be open on Friday 7th as well. Check the brochure for details of the 65 artists and 34 studios taking part.

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